Really enjoying my newly acquired Nait 5si integrated. Thought I had a duff one as I had volume attenuators attached to my DAC which was for use with my other amp. The 5si definitely didn’t like these because when I remembered and removed them from the chain it started to sing. Early days but liking what I’m hearing even pops when powering on and off are bit disconcerting to a Naim newbie.
Speaking of power, can someone tell me how much power is consumed when leaving the amp on? Apparently it’ll perform best if you keep it on most of the time.
Yes, taking them out of the chain was a bit of revelation. My other amp, Denon pma 800ne, didn’t seem to mind them at all. This little Denon is remarkable for a budget amp, punchy yet also subtle, capable of real insight into a recording beyond its price point, and I’m extremely fond of it.
Yet when I had a chance to pick up a Nait 5si for a very low price I just had to get one and see what the fuss is all about. Something was sounding not quite right and then I remembered about the attenuators. I was using this with the Denon as the gain is so quick with that amp. With the attenuators off on the Naim, it was like “Ah… so that’s what gets people so excited about Naim!” Since then I’ve had to take it out of my system for reasons too complicated to go into hear. But I feel like a teenager waiting for their second date with that cute girl who made him believe the first one had gone quite well.
So I had that second date with the Nait 5si and I’m sorry to say that it didn’t go so well. Neither did subsequent dates and we’ve decided to go our separate ways (ok, I think I’ve taken this date analogy far enough).
Anyway, this is what I found. This amplifier is fast and yes, I did get the PRaT thing that people go on about but my system wasn’t lacking rhythmic agility in the first place. I have an excellent digital front end with the ifi Zen One signature DAC with the ifi iPower X power supply and together with my Triangle Titus EZ bookshelf speakers I have focus, pacing and responsiveness in abundance. With the 5si there’s even more ability to stop/start on a dime, the Roberta Flack track Compared to What is a good example where things sounded faster, but I was kind of left thinking it was fast enough in the first place. What I don’t get is the sustain in notes that the Denon gives me, nor the roundness and sweetness in tone. I had to check this several times as it’s nearly £1500 vs £549 and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. The British Audiophile talks about how this amplifier doesn’t give a full decay to transients and this is what I was definitely hearing. In the end the sound just lacks a bit of presence, certainly this is noticeable with vocals and then with plenty of instruments also. On Nouvelle Vague’s cover of Making plans for Nigel there’s all sorts percussive elements that sound much more satisfying on the Denon, the triangle sound just goes on for miles (and here I mean the percussion instrument not the speakers) while it’s just lost on the Nait 5si.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a good amplifier but not in my system and to my ears and certainly not at nearly 3x the price at full rrp to my little Denon.
Partnering is the key along with room and setup. I have had this amp for nearly two years and have experienced none of the issues you describe. So I agree with you that it’s not working perfectly in your system.
I too use streaming only using an ifi Zen One signaure DAC and Amazon HD over LDAC bluetooth from my phone. So no dedicated streamer but LDAC codec using the Zen One sounds very good already. But obviously a quality dedicated streamer like yours would be on a whole new level.